Anime conventions are opening back up during this pandemic. Anime conventions are places where cosplayers and fans gather and on May 21-23 Anime Central will be holding an online event and Anime Midwest is coming to Rosemont from July 2-4. Excitement in the Anime community is growing as Anime Central will be meeting virtually, while Anime Midwest will be in person. Many events are planned at both conventions and a lot of people will attend. A lot of people can attend a con, and it is a very large gathering of people usually. Thankfully Anime Central have decided to make their cons virtual and not risk spreading COVID-19 through in-person conventions. Still there are some health concerns for cons opening back up in-person.
Nathalie Adame, the president of the Anime Club at Morton West High School, said “I feel like the appropriate time to attend a con, like this whole situation wise, would be if like everybody was safe, like if a vaccine came out for like even little kids because I’ve seen like a lot of babies in conventions, so I feel like if everybody got a vaccine or like they got tested for COVID and they’re like negative, then maybe. You know, and then when larger, larger gatherings such as like more than thousands of people are like, able to be together are appropriate.”
The conventions themselves have a lot to offer Anime enthusiasts. Adame said, “At a con there are many activities such as playing video games, a lot of people bring like consuls and they can play video games there. Cosplay contests, where you compete in contests to know which cosplay is better or just enjoy and stuff like that. There’s panels where you get to hear or listen to people, just like, imagine a famous voice actor came, they would have a panel, and then you’re able to like interact with them. Autographs with famous people such as “Stranger Things” cast, they came over to C2E2, people were able to interact with them, have an autograph and take a photo. And also con meet-ups, where a certain fandom meets up, just like Overwatch fandom and Blitz con, they would all meet up and take photos together. It’s a huge community where you can just interact with different people and different like things, such as gaming, and then anime, you can also watch anime movies together. It’s like, it’s fun, it’s really fun.”
Anime conventions are made for thousands of people to attend and join. All of those people inside one building have a chance to catch Coronavirus unless they follow the procedures and wear a mask and keep six feet apart from each other. There are several con-goers who want cons to open back up, but are still concerned about the virus.
Edwin Gonzalez, a Morton West graduate ’19 and a cosplayer who’s attended anime conventions before, said “I’m hopeful yet scared. I’d like to go if there isn’t too many people but knowing conventions it’s hard to say. I just hope everyone wears a mask.” There is still hope for conventions to open back up, but until the virus has either died down completely or almost completely, people shouldn’t attend cons due to health reasons. A convention is “crowded, hot, fun, it’s very loud as well and you get to see a lot of your favorite characters come to life. A nice way to meet others who enjoy anime and manga.” Gonzalez added.
This year several conventions are opening back up either virtually or in person. Besides the May 20-22 Anime Central virtual convention and the July 2-4th, Anime Midwest convention in Rosemont, Sakura-con is opening April 2-4th in Seattle Washington, and Anime Festival Wichita June 25-27.